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Top 5 Things to Look Out for When Booking a Barn Wedding

Happy Newly Weds at Double Creek Farm. Photographer: @abbeydeerest

There’s something particularly magical about country barn weddings, which is why they’re such popular choices of venues for happy couples. If you’re considering a barn wedding venue near you, there are a few points to consider before booking up. From air conditioning and bathrooms to illegal venues and parking, we’ve compiled a list of things to look out for before putting down a deposit.

1. Illegal Venues

Did you know? Many barn wedding venues aren’t approved by the city of country codes department for hosting indoor events where food and drink are served. Many venues claim that agricultural tourism covers their liability. So, if there’s an accident on-site, you may be left holding the bag!

Venues that aren’t approved may not have the correct fire protection or be ADA compliant. By booking an illegal wedding barn, you run the risk of your venue being shut down without notice, leaving you in a real bind.

2. Air Conditioning and Heating

You can never judge the weather in Middle Tennessee. September and October are popular months for getting hitched, but temperatures range between 49 degrees to a scorching 83 degrees. The last thing you need is to sweat loads on your special day, especially with the extra clothes and walking. And you don’t want your guests feeling uncomfortably cold on the day either. It’s important to consider that most barn venues may require either temporary air conditioning or heating.

If your venue doesn’t provide central air conditioning during the warmer weather, you could rent out air conditioning units or large fans to keep the barn cool. The price of air conditioners depends on how much space needs cooling, the number of guests you plan on having at the location, and a few other factors.

Barn weddings during colder months are often not even possible when heating isn’t provided. And you certainly don’t want your guests huddled by a propane heater trying to stay warm. In which case, you may need a portable space heater in your venue if the barn doesn’t already have standardized heating. Temporary heating options range by how big or small the place is that you want to heat, and are available in a range of sizes and heating choices. Your best bet is to talk with your venue, as you’ll probably need permissions and permits before erecting the heaters.

Your wedding party and guests will thank you for the comfort of having indoor heating and air conditioning.

3. Bathrooms

While having a wedding in a barn sounds great, having to use the bathroom in a barn sounds scary. So, make sure your venue has enough bathrooms to handle the number of guests you have. Farm wedding venues offer a sublime backdrop for nuptials, however, some don’t always have the most contemporary (or convenient) restroom facilities. What could be worse than your guests trekking to bathrooms that are a long way away?

Equally important is considering the following:

· Do you have guests with disabilities that need ADA-compliant bathrooms?

· Are the bathrooms modern and easily accessible to your reception?

If your barn wedding venue doesn’t provide bathroom facilities, it may be worth thinking about hiring a few luxury portable restroom trailers. These will give your guests the same facilities they’d have in a permanent venue like a restaurant or hotel. After all, there’s nothing worse than having to leave the party to hike to the bathroom, right?

4. Parking

Parking may be the last thing people ask about, but convenient parking to the wedding venue is vital. If your guests have to walk a long distance in hot weather, they’ll likely sweat buckets during the ceremony, which isn’t ideal – or very pleasant.

So, be sure not to choose a wedding venue with only enough parking for the bridal party. Here are a few questions to ask your selected barn venue:

· If your wedding venue offers on-site parking, how many vehicles can it accommodate?

· Where, exactly, is the designated parking area located?

If the barn venue doesn’t provide on-site parking, you could consider self-park which is economical but involves some thorough planning and on-site leadership to get it just right. For example, you’ll need to:

· Create a secure traffic pattern, big enough for all transport

· Set up enough signage that directs the wedding party where to go, clearly marking every area (VIP and disabled parking, event staff, guest drop-off, and vendor loading/unloading)

· Rig up plenty of lighting to highlight the parking and direct everyone safely after the wedding celebration

If you're using golf carts to transport guests, they may have to wait for a ride to get to the venue, or have a long walk back at night in the dark.

5. Kitchen

And finally, does your barn venue’s kitchen meet the needs of your caterer? Your selected barn venue may not have a full working kitchen inside the barn, so make sure your caterers are kitted out with all the equipment they’ll need. Many caterers are used to this, so as long as they know what they need to bring along with them, they will be able to accomidate.

So, here are some questions to ask your venue:

· Do you have a kitchen space?

· Does the barn have enough space or the right facilities for your caterer?

· Does it have a large refrigerator, ice maker or deep freezer, and warming equipment?

· Is there enough space to prepare lots of food?

From bathrooms to kitchen considerations, we hope these top tips will help you in your planning process. Happy planning!


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